Archive for September, 2008

Food Shopping Project 2/3

September 17, 2008

If you click on the photo it will take you to the original on flickr where notes on each item will tell you what they are and the individual prices (in GB£).

I hadn’t thought about shopping bags before I left the house as I was going to the gym. But I caught the train back and that stops near(ish) the supermarket so I got my shopping done in the same trip. So I had to buy bags. I didn’t want plastic, even the recyclable ones, so bought another jute bag (I must had three now) and a rather nifty cotton bag that folds up into its own pocket.

Also bought but not shown: toilet rim cleaner thing £1.22 and two bags: one jute at £1 and one fair trade cotton at 99p

The cheesecake and the loaf cake are for Rik. He loves cheesecake and has been feeling a bit low and stressed lately so I wanted to cheer him up.

Total cost £38.35
or US$68.54
or NZ$103.55
or €48.12

Before getting on the train I popped into the little M&S food shop at Milton Keynes station because I’d not only forgotten bags, but hadn’t brought anything to eat after the gym. I bought this
Food Shopping Project 2/2
Total cost in M&S:
Total cost £5
or US$8.92
or NZ$13.49
or €6.30


Losing weight and cms at last (two pounds off)

September 16, 2008

As I’m not going out to work at the moment, I’ve decided to devote as much of my ‘spare time’ (what spare time?) as I can to exercising to get the weight off. Yesterday I was at the gym before 7.30am. Yes, you read that correctly – before 7.30am! Why so early? My SO was going to the gym before work and offered me a lift.

I’ve caught up with an old friend who is now in Australia.  She used to be a very, very big girl. She is now stunning and slim.  When I asked her how she did it she said “walking”.  So I did 30 minutes on the treadmill; an hour of other exercises; finished with another 30 minutes on the treadmill. After a shower and a rest with a book, I did the 11am aqua aerobics class. The timetable says that the class should be taken by Julie-Ann who is someone I don’t know. However, Emma, who I do know (I’ve done her 8pm Wednesday class a few times), took the class and the other ladies seemed not to be expecting a ‘Julie-Ann’ having had various different instructors over the weeks. I’m not usually a fan of Emma’s classes as I feel they lack imagination but it seems she is better with daytime classes than evenings.

So my exercise was:

  • 30 minutes on the treadmill, starting at 5kph then reducing to 4.7kph as I gradually took the gradient up to 3.5% (where I stayed for three minutes) and back down again.
  • Hand bike for 5 minutes.
  • Cross trainer (effort level two) for six minutes, then one minute rest then another six minutes.
  • Rowing machine for 750 metres which I did in 5 minutes and 41 seconds
  • The fixed weights where you pull your arms together (no idea what it is called) 15kg x 12 times (with a rest between six and seven).
  • Ball work – on my knees, forearms on the ball, pull it towards me x 12
  • On my back, lift pelvis and hold for count of 12, rest for count of six – 12 times.
  • Treadmill for 30 minutes. Stayed at 5kph for 25 minutes taking it up in increments to a 3% gradient and doing the last ten minutes slower and slower as a cool down.
  • 45 minute aqua aerobics class.
  • Walked to SOs office for a lift home

My meal shave been much smaller as well. I was surprised not to be hungry after all that exercise. I had a banana before I started (too early for breakfast) and a Special K bar. After Rik took me home I had a small lunch. Here is today’s food:

Monday, 15th September

Feeling Good!

September 9, 2008


I’m at the start of a new relationship and it’s going to be good. We met at lunchtime today. It was a blind date set up by a friend and I knew in the first five minutes that this was the one for me. We’ve already arranged to meet again later this week. He was interested in me and asked lots of questions about what I like and what I do. As the afternoon progressed I realised that he is going to be very demanding – and I like that.


“Has she taken leave of her senses?” I hear you ask. “Doesn’t she have a partner, already? I thought she was happy?” Yes, I do have a partner, yes we are happy, and no, I’m not cheating on him.


I don’t have a new partner, I have a new personal trainer. When Estella told me she wouldn’t be doing personal training any more she suggested a I try a couple of the others to see who suited me best. Jason was her first suggestion. She did her training (as in ‘training for a qualification’ rather than ‘a workout’) with him and said he was very good. She also suggested I tried one of the girls there (I’ll call her A) because ‘she gets lots of clients so she must be doing something right’. She did add ‘but I’m not sure she’d be right for you, not sure she’d motivate you enough’. And I doneed motivating, not just instruction.


I wasn’t sure about trying them both and then having to ‘dump’ one as it were. But Estella had a word with them for me so they knew the score. I had a trial session with A last Thursday. I have to say that I was not impressed. In the first minute she was looking at the pop video on the TV screen rather than looking at me to see if I was doing anything wrong. I’m a novice at the gym – my first session with Estella was the first time I’d ever been in one – so it’s easy for me to get my posture wrong and potentially hurt myself or to forget to pull my abdominal muscles in. The whole point of paying a trainer is so that you get their attention and they make sure you do it and do it right. Later, when I was exercising near the door to the reception, she kept looking out there. She did keep looking back and me and then back outside. Really, if there was a problem out there that she had to deal with, I would have understood if she said so. But they didn’t need her because she didn’t go out there. If she was just bored and wanted to have a nosy at who or what was outside then she shouldn’t have bothered with the session. There was not enough encouragement and certainly no checking of whether I was finding it too easy, pushing myself, or pushing too hard. It wasn’t until later that evening, when my SO nagged (sorry, encouraged me) to stretch before bed, that I realised A hadn’t got me to stretch at the end of the session. If she’s falling down on the encouragement and attention during a trial session, then what would she be like when I’d had a few sessions with her?


So even before today’s session I suspected that Jason was going to be the one to get my money. But even if I hadn’t had a disappointing session last week I would have been impressed with him. Before I even filled in the paperwork (medical history, what my goals are, etc) he asked me what I’d eaten so far that day and how much fluid I’d had. Perhaps because I told him not only what I’d eaten but how many grams of each (muesli and blueberries) he asked if I was calorie counting, how long I’d been doing it, what calorie limit I usually set myself for a week or day. We discussed what I should eat when (carbs such as pasta together with lean protein after exercising as the body will absorb and burn it better then).


I explained that I would be on holiday for much of October – away for ten days, back for six, away again for fourteen. He asked if I would get a chance for any exercise while I was away and said he’d suggest some exercises I could do in the hotel room as two weeks without exercise would set me back quite a way. They are both sightseeing tours, so there will be lots of walking around sights and some of the hotels will have pools, I hope. He suggested resistance bands My SO has some that his physiotherapist gave him so maybe I can use them.


On to the workout. Like Estella, he showed me how to do anything I’d not done before or was unsure about. He corrected my posture, made sure I wasn’t locking my knees when I shouldn’t, that I was pulling in my tummy muscles when I should. He uses the same ‘on a scale of one to ten’ system as Estella to check on how hard I was working and encouraged me to ‘step up the pace’ when I needed him to.


I’d done interval training a few times with Estella. That’s one of the few terms I have picked up. As I said before, it’s all new to me. The last time I exercised regularly was back in the 80s when aerobics was the ‘new thing’ and happened in the church hall. He suggested that I did some interval training to keep the calories burning for a few days after the session – it should help with the ‘getting below 88cm as soon as possible’ aim. He had me do this on the cross trainer. Phew, I have never worked so hard or sweated so much. I wasn’t sure I could keep it up but, perhaps sensing this, the told me when there was just another 30 seconds, 15 seconds, then ten, then five seconds left. No way was I going to give up with just ten seconds to go, but boy is ten seconds a long time! He checked what weight of dumbbells I’d used with Estella (2.5kg) and gave me heavier ones (3.5kg) then, for a couple of exercises, dropped it back down to 2.5 half way through the reps. He did this after checking how long I’d been training with Estella, to be sure it was time to step it up a bit.


At one point, while using the weights and just three reps from completing a set, I had what he called ‘momentary failure’, when my muscles just refused to do any more. He held my arms in position while I finished.


All the way through the session he explained what I should do, where I should feel it, checked how I felt and where I felt it (legs? where in the legs?), told me what it should do for me and was very conscientious about my recovery time, ensuring I had the right number of minutes or seconds before starting again.


After a cool down and good stretches we compared diaries. I’ve never worked so hard or sweated so much but I suspect I will be doing so again.


I feel terrific (all those endorphins or whatever they are) and convinced I can get fit and slim.

Academics Prove I am Right: Photo-dieting helps you lose weight

September 5, 2008

A friend sent me a link to an article in the online version of The Daily Mail newspaper. The article was headed ‘The Flash Diet: taking photos of meals helps slimmers lose weight’.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison asked 43 people to record what they ate in both words and photographs. They found that

‘photo diaries were a far more effective and accurate record of daily calories and a far more powerful disincentive to overeat.’

I, and the others who have been doing this for some time, know this to be true. However, I have to disagree with the assertion that seeing the photos of how much they ate gave dieters ‘a guilt trip’ about how much they ate. It isn’t clear whether that came from the research or from the reporter. As it is the Daily Mail, I suspect the latter. Guilt trips are not a healthy attitude to eating or dieting and weightloss. Guilt trips are not what photodieting is about.

I think of it, as the subtitle of my blog says, as ‘food re-education through a lens’ with the emphasis on re-education. About what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.

Still it’s nice to know that university academics agree with me, even if their sample size was less than half that of the members of the flickr Photo-diet Project group.

Food Shopping Project 2/1

September 5, 2008

{If you click on the photo it will take you to the original on flickr where you will find notes on each item telling you what it is.}

Having said, in my first ‘food shopping project’ post, that I seldom get to buy my veggies from a market, this afternoon I was in Milton Keynes Centre while the market was open. I wanted some carrots to go in a tagine I’m planning to make tomorrow so I went and had a look. I came away with three bags full of produce for £7.71. I shall report back here on the quality.

The strawberries are from Waitrose, I bought them before I went to the market. Interestingly, they were the same price (2 for £3) as those in the market, a little cheaper than some stalls.

The three cheeses are from a stall in the special exhibition bit in front of John Lewis in the shopping centre. The were three for £10. I’ve had cheeses from this company before and liked them. They had a new one (brought out last year but new since I last bought from them) called Bouncing Berry which is mature cheddar with lots of cranberries – Ihad several tasters of this and bought two!

£1 = NZ$2.63 or US$1.76 or €1.24
So total for shopping £17.71 or NZ$46.70 or US$31.22 or €21.91

Between the last FSP photo and this one, I have bought some potatoes and some cherry tomatoes and my SO has bought some (lots of) mushrooms.

Why does dinner sometimes ‘just not work’?

September 5, 2008

I’m still chasing that 88cm or smaller waist measurement so still cutting out potatoes. I have a butternut squash that I need to use so Idecided to cube it and roast it in my small oven with the sausages and mushrooms I was planning to cook for dinner.

I’d been to the market this afternoon and bought some sweetcorn so I boiled that. (why do I get the urge now to start listing foods that ‘I went to the market and I bought’ starting from A through to Z?)

The squash was in the oven for about an hour in total. It was still hard. The sweetcorn was boiled for about 40 minutes. Not soft enough.

While we ate the sausages and broccoli the sweetcorn got a turn in the oven. That was better. I gave up on the butternut squash.

It should have been a simple meal but it was a disaster. Does anyone else have days like that, when simple stuff just doesn’t work out?

Food details for the day:
Breakfast: muesli & blueberries

Banana to eat before the gym

Lunch for after the gym: chicken, tomatoes.
I also had a couple of tiny ‘taster’ bits of cheese from a stall.

Dinner: one and a half Cumberland sausages, butternut squash, sweetcorn, broccoli, mushrooms

Dessert: pear

Wednesday, 3.9.08

September 5, 2008

I’m a much happier bunny when I start my day with muesli and blueberries. I must try to remember that.  Today the muesli was a mix of the last of the Simply Delicious and the start of a new packet of Super High Fibre. Both very nice and both from Dorset Cereals. The SHF really is (and therefore is extra good for your body!)

I was a bit too frugal with lunch and, as I had a couple of lamb chops in the fridge that needed to be used, I had a ‘second course’ (and still didn’t break my calorie limit).

Dinner was fish in butter sauce. This is one of the few frozen meals that I really enjoy. Surprisingly, the butter sauce version has about the same number of calories as the parsley sauce version, but tastes so much nicer. I like it with cabbage as the suace goes well with it. I did potatoes for my SO but, as you can see, I didn’t have any myself.

Dinner didn’t quite fill me up though, and I’d not had a lot of fruit and veg so I had a banana. With some chocolate and toffee fudge sauce.

Food details:
Breakfast: bluberries & muesli

Lunch: prawns, tomatoes & cucumber; blueberry optifit and raspberries
lunch (2) 120g lean lamb

Dinner: cod in butter sauce and cabbage

Supper: bananas with chocolate and toffee fudge sauces

Muesli Super High Fibre, Dorset Cereals 20g
Muesli Simply Delicious, Dorset Cereals 30g
Blueberries, fresh60g
milk (includes tea)200ml
Optifit blueberry100g
cod in butter sauce150g
chocolate sauce14g
toffee fudge sauce28g

1173 Cals;81.4g Prot; 126.4g Carb; 38.1g Fat; 16.5g Fibre; 6.3 F&V

Tuesday, 2.9.08

September 2, 2008

First day of trying to be stricter about the diet in an attempt to (no, bad choice of words – I WILL) get my waist mesaurement below 88cm and keep my BMI below 35. Didn’t do too badly. I shouldn’t have had the chocolate sauce on the late night fruit. But it has to be used within four weeks of opening and its been open a few weeks already. – Why do I get the feeling that it’s (un)logic like that that keeps me fat?

Didn’t plan today’s meals which is never good. Had the muesli after the SO left for work. Can’t eat it and kiss him goodbye as he is allergic to nuts. Was hungry in the afternoon but ate an apple. That kept things at bay for a while.  Supper was because I felt I hadn’t had enough fruit today.

Food details:
Breakfast: 40g Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious muesli, 60g fresh blueberries, 100ml semi-skimmed milk

Lunch 150g chicken, 1 banana

Snack: apple

Dinner: pork, mushroom, shallot, peas and lower fat creme fraiche with spaghetti, green beans and brocoli

Supper: plums in filo, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and chocolate sauce

New Zealand Medicals

September 1, 2008

A comment on my other blog, Countdown to Fifty, about our Expression of Interest to emigrate to New Zealand having been selected from the pool lead me to the forums on the  really useful

There I found some posts from someone whose medical had been declined due to morbid obesity. This lead me to going round and round in circles trying to find the right bit of the NZ immigration site to find what they require. (The link was obvious when I found it).

Anyway. It appears, from my reading of the form, that if the BMI is above 35 or a female’s waist circumference is more than 88cm they do extra blood tests. Specifically fasting lipids and fasting glucose tests.

My BMI hovers just below 35 but my waist measurement is what bothers me. My fat all hangs around my belly and has done for years. I need to get rid of this now as I do not want to lose out on my dream just because I couldn’t get the weight off. My doctor did blood tests last year because he was worried about the size of my belly – worried about ‘syndrome x’ or whatever they call it, and diabetes. But I was fine. But I’d rather not have the stress, worry and extra delay that this could cause.

I have booked my first, free, sessions with two trainers at the gym, because as already posted, Estella, my lovely trainer has given up personal training to concentrate on chair-based exercise classes for the elderly and infirm.

As I haven’t been in any classes that Jason and Claire take, I don’t know what they are like so I’m having a session with each before booking a block of ten sessions with one.

I shall tell them I need to concentrate on reducing my waist measurement. I will also cut down on (or try to cut out) potatoes and white bread.  I’ve got to do this.

I think I will also go for three gym sessions a week, plus the two (or three) aqua aerobics classes.

Wish me luck!